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Ask Steven

How often have a captain and a wicketkeeper opened the batting in a World Cup match?

Also, who holds the record for the most 0 not-outs in Tests?

Steven Lynch
Steven Lynch
Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera are only the second captain-wicketkeeper opening pair in a World Cup match  •  Getty Images

Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera are only the second captain-wicketkeeper opening pair in a World Cup match  •  Getty Images

Josh Hazlewood, missing from this year's World Cup, played five matches in the last one without ever batting. Is this a record? asked Jenny McDonald from Australia
You're right that the Australian seamer Josh Hazlewood played five matches in the 2015 World Cup - including the final - without being called on to bat. And it is indeed a bit of a surprise that he wasn't selected for this one: as reported on ESPNcricinfo last week, he hasn't been glued to the screen back home watching it, either.
As it turns out, Hazlewood is second on this particular list, behind another tall Aussie seamer: the World Cup career of Nathan Bracken amounted to ten of his side's 11 matches when Australia won the 2007 tournament in the West Indies, but he never batted. As I write, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has played four World Cup matches for India (one in 2015), and hasn't batted yet.
In the just-finished women's one-day series, the England captain was Knight and their wicketkeeper was Taylor, while the West Indies captain was Taylor and their wicketkeeper was Knight. Can you think of anything similar? asked Paul Jacques from England
That's a neat observation: England's captain in that series against West Indies was Heather Knight, and their wicketkeeper Sarah Taylor, while West Indies were led by Stafanie Taylor, with Kycia Knight behind the stumps (and her twin, Kyshona, elsewhere in the field).
I can't instantly think of any parallels. I do remember a men's Test, in Bulawayo in 2011-12, where both sides were captained by a Taylor - Brendan for Zimbabwe and Ross from New Zealand, but the wicketkeepers didn't share a name. And for many years Warwickshire were captained by a Smith (M. J. K.) while their wicketkeeper was A. Smith (Alan). I'm not sure if that counts, though!
Sri Lanka's batting in the World Cup match against Afghanistan was opened by their captain and their wicketkeeper. How rare is this? asked Rajiv Radhakrishnan from England
Sri Lanka's openers in that match in Cardiff were Dimuth Karunaratne, the captain, and wicketkeeper Kusal Perera, who had gone in at No. 3 in their first game. It worked: they put on 92 against Afghanistan. I thought this might have happened reasonably frequently, but actually the only other pair to do it in the World Cup were England's Andrew Strauss and Matt Prior, in two matches in 2011. Alec Stewart captained, opened and kept wicket in seven World Cup games for England - two in 1992 and five in 1999 - while Andy Flower did it twice for Zimbabwe in 1996.
I noticed that Jimmy Anderson has had 86 not-outs in Tests. Is this the record? Has he also had the most nought not-outs? asked Alastair Spiers from Scotland
Jimmy Anderson has held this particular record since 2017, when he chalked up his 62nd Test not-out, against South Africa, to pass the record previously held by Courtney Walsh (61 not-outs). Next come Muttiah Muralitharan (56), Bob Willis (55), Chris Martin (52, exactly half his innings), and Glenn McGrath (51), before the first two specialist batsmen, Shivnarine Chanderpaul (40) and Steve Waugh (46).
Anderson does also lead the way for Test innings of 0 not out - he's had 31 so far, three ahead of Martin. Makhaya Ntini comes next with 18.
Who is England's oldest surviving Test player? asked Michael Robertson from England
I'm always slightly nervous about answering questions like these, but the man who holds this distinction as I write is the Sussex left-hander Don Smith, who played three Tests against West Indies in 1957. Smith has just celebrated his 96th birthday - on June 14, the same day the Australian allrounder Alan Davidson turned 90. There are currently 13 former Test player who are now in their nineties. The only other Englishman is Smith's longtime Sussex team-mate Ian Thomson, who reached 90 in January.
Don Smith was the subject of a recent booklet produced by the Sussex Cricket Museum. In it he remembers receiving his England colours: "Today it is carried out in front of the spectators. At Lord's in the basement a minion handed over to me my England cap and two sweaters. I still thought it was great."
On the list of oldest surviving Test players, the only one older than Smith is the South African allrounder John Watkins, who was born two months earlier, in April 1923.
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Steven Lynch is the editor of the updated edition of Wisden on the Ashes